Chef Steve's How To Guide: Amazing Vinaigrette and Salad Dressings
In classical French cuisine there are five "mother sauces". From these five sauces, many variations arise. If there were any sauce worth ordaining as a new mother sauce, I think it would be vinaigrette, whose variations and derivatives are as endless as all of the ingredients in the grocery store. They can be warm, frozen, room temperature, separated or "broken", emulsified (temporary or permanent), used as salad dressing; or my favorite, as a sauce, braising medium, or glaze. Emulsifiers are commonly used to help stabilize these vinaigrette. They have two ends: one with an affinity for water and one for oil, so they allow these two, which would not normally mix, to form a uniform emulsion.
Basic Vinaigrette Recipe
3 Parts Liquid Fats (Canola, Soybean, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, etc)
1 Part Vinegar (Red Wine Vinegar, Balsamic, Apple Cider, Raspberry, etc)
Salt and Pepper TT
Emulsifier (Egg yolks, Prepared Mustards like Dijon, tomato paste, roasted garlic, etc)
· Start by whisking together any added flavoring and the emulsifier (if using) together with the vinegar
· Slowly drizzle in liquid oils in a constant stream, whisking constantly
· The action of the whisking breaks the oil into millions of droplets that can form a temporary emulsion (Oil and Vinegar Dressing), or when coated emulsifier, can become more permanently emulsified (Mayonnaise).
· Dried Spices and herbs have flavors that are fat soluble and bloom in the presence of oils, so if possible, allow dried herbs spices to rehydrate in the finished vinaigrette for at least 30 minutes before serving.
· With lighter flavored vinegars, such as white wine, apple cider vinegar, or rice wine, a ratio of 3 parts oil : 2 parts vinegar may be used.
· Don't let the vinaigrette do all of the work! Vinaigrette finish an already delicious salad or dish, so be sure to season salad greens, meats and other components with salt and pepper before adding the vinaigrette
· The taste of vinaigrette dressings may appear strong on their own. Often, greens which are full of water or savory dishes diminish or "cut" this effect, so try a small amount on a leaf or a sample of the dish it is to accompany to determine if any adjustments need to be made.
Bacon-Wrapped Roasted Pork Loin with Thyme-Scented Butter Beans and Italian Parsley Vinaigrette
2 Strips of Smoked Bacon, cut into lardons (thin strips)
2 Shallots, Diced Small (can sub ½ cup onion)
3 Sprigs of Thyme, stems removed
3 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2 Cans Butter Beans, drained
Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
In a small sauce pot, add the bacon, and about one tablespoon of water, and render on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon has given up most of its fat and has browned beautifully. Remove bacon lardons to a side plate, and add sweat the onions in bacon fat until translucent. Add thyme and garlic and cook for three minutes more. Add the stock and drained beans and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half and season with salt and pepper.
Italian Parsley Vinaigrette
10 sprigs of parsley, chopped
3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 T Apple Cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Bacon Fat or Roasted Pork Drippings
1 Cup Canola Oil
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
In a blender, add the herbs, vinegar, garlic, Dijon, and warmed bacon fat. With the blender running, drizzle in the oil until fully incorporated and smooth; season with salt and pepper. This vinaigrette is great with summer vegetables and poultry.
Creamy Blood Orange and Raspberry Vinaigrette
1 Cup of Blood Orange Juice
2 Tbsp Raspberry Vinegar
1 Shallot, chopped
1 T Dijon
3T Greek Yogurt, Mayonnaise, or Sour Cream
½ Cup Canola Oil
Salt and Pepper, TT
In a sauce pot, add the orange juice and shallot, reduce by half, and then cool. In a medium mixing bowl, add reduced juice and whisk to combine all of the ingredients except the oil. Then, slowly whisk in the oil, adding it in a constant stream until incorporated. Refrigerate.
Chef Steve Couch
Grand Rapids, Michigan